The commissioner for Jones County’s District 2 is nearing completion of his second four-year term in office and is seeking another.
The 2016 contest between the incumbent Commissioner Jonathan Pitts, Democrat, and his challenger, John Wood, Republican, was as close as it gets. It was decided by 22 votes.
The incumbent began working on his campaign before the COVID-19 pandemic created challenges not previously experienced by political candidates.
He held events such as Coffee with Commissioner Pitts at McDonalds and Dairy Queen on Saturday mornings. Since the pandemic struck, he has revved up his social media presence with his Facebook page and website, jonathanpittsfordistrict2.com that lists his accomplishments, issues and his vision for the future. The commissioner also has a billboard.
“We decided to do the website because we can’t make the personal contact we would like due to COVID-19,” Pitts said.
Future campaign events include ‘Cool Off with Commissioner Pitts’ at Carol’s Park Oct. 3 and in Haddock Oct. 10.
Pitts has lived in Jones County his entire life, with the exception of his college years at Valdosta State University, where he met and married his wife Keisha. The couple has two children, MaKinzee and Jackson.
When asked his top priority, Pitts said it is family.
“I’m not going to be a commissioner forever, but I am going to be a husband and father forever,” he said.
The commissioner said, no matter the outcome of the election, he will continue to work for the community.
Even before he ran for election in 2012, he served the community as Chairman of Gray Station Better Home Town, Chairman of JACOR (Jones Area Council On Relief) and Chairman of Leadership Macon’s administrative board.
Pitts said he decided to run for office because, while he was involved in other community organizations, he realized they always had to go the Commissioners or City Council for approval.
“Becoming a commissioner was another opportunity to serve,” he said.
During his time as a member of the Board of Commissioners, Pitts worked with Tammy Clark to kick start fundraising and in the construction of Jones County’s Inclusive Playground, to bring career advancement classes to Jones County, the county’s designation as an AARP livable community, the creation of the state’s first and only veterans telemedicine room, the completion of the streetscape in Haddock, the Live Healthy Jones campaign, and the creation of the county’s one and only dog park.
Pitts was the driving force to bring foot golf to the Lake Jonesco Golf Course and Pickle Ball to Jones County.
The commissioner was an advocate for the wellness program for Jones County employees to reduce healthcare costs and provide incentives to the employees.
On the state level, he serves as the Chairman of the Association County Commissioners of Georgia Economic Development and Transportation committee.
Pitts serves on the federal level as a member of the National Association of Counties (NACo) Community and Workforce Development committee, and he represented Jones County at the Georgia Local Elected Officials’ White House Conference in 2017.
Pitts said his vision for the future includes increasing internet accessibility and connectivity in Jones County. He started that effort with the community connectivity enhancement pilot program.
The commissioner took the lead in the process of naming rights for county facilities. That includes the Morris Bank Recreational Complex and the Piedmont Dog Park that is sponsored by the animal hospital.
“The funds received from those naming rights save money for Jones County taxpayers now and in the future,” Pitts said.